This month has been a particularly trying time for me. My personal life has been chaos and I’m in a difficult work situation all while applying for my Masters degree. It’s safe to say that my usual self-care methods weren’t up to scratch, so while I lamented over my situation the gears were turning on how I could calm my anxiety to a reasonable level.
My environment has a huge effect on my mood. If my house is messy – I feel messy. Inside and out. This made me have a long think about what influences my environment and how I could help myself and others by learning how to transform your environment when you feel messy. Hopefully some of these methods work for you as they’ve worked for me.
Get out of the house. I mean it. While the part of your brain that is screaming that you don’t deserve to go out when the dishes are long past ‘starting’ to smell and you’re almost out of clean clothes you need to get out of there. Seeing this mess is making you feel worse. Allow your brain to reset by talking a walk anywhere you can. Even if it’s just going to the shop for a pint of milk.
Some interesting places you could go are;
- The beach
- The nearest patch of green in your village/town/city (likely to have cute dogs)
- Go to the supermarket and try and look through isles you hardly go through (you might find something new you’d like to try)
- Take a wander into some shops you’ve never been into before; little nick nak stores are a favourite
- A Pet Shop
While I was researching for this post I visited my local Pets at Home and enjoyed looking at this very sleepy bunny. Truly a treat for the eyes!
Maybe you haven’t showered in a few days. Are those empty pizza boxes from last week? When was the last time you opened a window?
- Open that window! Never underestimate what a difference some fresh air circulating your home can do for your mood.
- Light some candles. Primark and Morrisons do pretty decent candles for cheap and ASDA more often than not has discounted Yankee candles and melts.
- Get some cheap flowers. You can get a decent bunch of flowers from any supermarket for around £2. Flowers make me feel as if my house has life in it, something it lacks often as I live alone and often don’t feel myself.
This is all down to personal taste. What genre do you love the most? I’m not going to tell you who you should listen to. However sometimes music isn’t enough – sometimes it’s too much. When the music you usually listen to isn’t doing the trick to make you feel at ease I have a few recommendations;
- BBC Radio 4. If you’re feeling lonely, radio 4 is great for feeling as if someone is there with you. You might even learn something.
- BBC Radio 2. My personal favourite. The presenters are warm and the music can range from 50’s jazz to modern hits. A must if you like variety and would still like some music now and then.
- Soundrown a very popular background noise website that can be very relaxing. I managed to write my Masters proposal with a mix of waves and bird sounds
- Call someone. If you like that sort of interaction. For many of us talking on the phone fills us with dread, but when you’re feeling isolated a call to a friend or a family member you’re close to could turn things around.
For me, I know I’m feeling anxious and downtrodden when I start to feel unclean. I could have showered that morning but for some reason my hands feel clammy, my clothes feel like they’re too tight, and my skin feels as if I’ve rubbed it in oil and dirt for the heck of it. If this sounds familiar;
- Shower again. Take your time. Rise and repeat your shampoo. It makes such a difference when your hair feels light and fluffy after drying. Cut your nails and moisturise. You’ll feel like a giant baby (in a good way).
- Face masks! They don’t have to be the expensive ones that are trending. Most supermarkets sell good face masks for £1 for different skin types. Have fun picking yours out and touching your soft cheeks afterwards.
- Shave your legs. If you prefer to let it grow natural that’s okay. For me, the feeling of my PJ’s against freshly shaved legs is to die for.
Taste is my favourite sense. I love food. Like, really love it. Don’t waste time eating food you’re only kind of enjoying. When we’re feeling depressed it’s difficult to make good food decisions. Overeating and going on a binge is something I struggle with in times of crisis. Due to the complex nature of people’s relationships with food this sense is too personal for me to recommend my favourite snacks or how to eat less or more. Instead, here are some small bits of advice;
- Forgive yourself. It doesn’t matter if you ate two more grapes than planned or ate a whole pizza when you already had dinner. You are still a good person and your relationship with food doesn’t define you.
- Avoid people who make you feel guilty about your food choices. If a good friend’s posts on social media about their diet is making you feel uncomfortable – unfollow them. If they care about you they’ll understand.
- Flavoured teas. No matter your food situation we can all enjoy a good cup of tea. A few of my favourites are Earl Grey, Apple and Pear, and Gingerbread green tea.
I hope some of you found this trip around the 5 senses helpful. If you like to reset your environment by treating your senses let me know in the comments what works for you.
Treat yourself right.